Posts by: Spargo

29May 2020
News Comments Off on Nepalese Sakela Festival

Nepalese Sakela Festival

The Nepalese Sakela Festival is an annual celebration of nature every May at the start of the Spring season in Nepal.
The Sakela dance is the main dance that is performed as part of this festival and several communities of Nepalese people come together to celebrate this. The dance is a representation of nature and the dance movements reflect the movements of trees, plants, flowers, animals and birds.
In the UK the Sakela Festival has an attendance of around 10,000 Nepalese from all over the country except this year when it was cancelled and they all celebrated it with their families at home. We are looking forward to it next year! 

29May 2020
News Comments Off on Zal & Phoenix by Shohreh Shakoory

Zal & Phoenix by Shohreh Shakoory

Zal & Phoenix iss a composition with illustrations by Meysam Mousavi, narrated by soprano April Fredrick. This multi-media production is based on an ancient Persian tale adapted for children for a live performance created by composer Shohreh Shakoory.

Shoreh Shakoory is an Iranian British pianist composer, who moved to the UK in 1993. She has performed her compositions  in several venues in London as well as numerous festivals in the UK, Belgium, France and Iran. Shohreh has been working on ‘Zal & phoenix ‘ project for over 3 years and will be developing this show for small-scale theatres as well as outdoor spaces and other flexible settings including schools.
Meysam Mousavi  is an Iranian painter based in Tehran. Meysam is a self taught  artist  who has participated  in several  exhibitions and festivals in Iran and throughout the world .
His Illustration work has been published over 200 children’s books, and he was the winner of Biennale Illustration Bratislava in 2011.
American soprano April Fredrick is passionate about nuance, text and character, performing regularly as an orchestral and oratorio soloist and premiering and recording multiple works including the role of ‘Jane’ in Joubert’s Jane Eyre, for which she received international acclaim. She is a founding member of Dei Gratia Baroque Ensemble.
Canberk Ulaş is a Turkish professional duduk player. He graduated in Istanbul Technical University Turkish Music State Conservatory. Ulas has contributed to many albums with his duduk throughout his career. He founded the band “Canberk Ulaş Quartet” in 2015 and released his  album titled “Telafi” in 2017.
18May 2020
News Comments Off on Sea Folk Sing Virtual Workshops

Sea Folk Sing Virtual Workshops

Interested in music, singing, doing new things and connecting with others online? 
Join our new free online workshops for anyone aged 55+ living in Medway or Swale. Work with a professional musician to explore Hope and Connection. You’ll try out new ideas and techniques and no previous musical experience is needed.
Workshops are on Wednesdays, starting 20th May.

More about the project

Sea Folk Sing is our successful two-year project that started in 2018. We helped create and tour new songs in Kent, written and performed by amazing people and professional musicians from our local communities. We’re now giving you the chance to take part in Sea Folk Sing virtually with our online workshops. You can take part in one workshop, a few, or all of them!

Places are limited to 16 people per each workshop and are on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Workshops are on Wednesday afternoons.

When you book you will be given the time of your workshop. If we get more than 8 people in a workshop, we will run the workshop twice on the same day.

Workshop Schedule:

  • Workshop No.1: Wed 20th May
  • Workshop No.2: Wed 27th May
  • Workshop No.3: Wed 3rd June
  • Workshop No.4: Wed 10th June
  • Workshop No.5: Wed 17th June
  • Workshop No.6: Wed 24th June
  • Workshop No.7: Wed 1st July
18May 2020
News Comments Off on Diversity Arts Network

Diversity Arts Network

Creating a digital platform for diverse artists, organisations, and community groups

We will be undertaking a mapping of local organisations and artists and for this purpose we would like you to email us the following information.
  • Name and contact details
  • Website / Facebook/Twitter links
  • Brief description of your work/ organisation
  • Brief description of current projects
  • Future projects that you are developing or would like to develop in relation to diversity

The information collected will be part of an online directory of organisations, venues, community groups, artists and performers in the region, what projects are being developed and where the gaps are.  We are aware that due to the Covid-19 crises most projects would have been cancelled or postponed, and some may not happen in the same way afterwards but for the purposes of our mapping exercise it would be useful to know what these projects are.

Deadline for sending us information is:  30th May 2020

We are holding 1-1 skype/zoom sessions over the next couple of weeks in relation to DAN and if you are interested do email us on:

Any questions please email

29Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Meet the Artist: Tatcho Drom

Meet the Artist: Tatcho Drom

Tatcho Drom are performing as part of WOW 2018 on Saturday 22nd September.  Tickets available through the Kings Place website.

Tatcho Drom stage a vibrant show of beautiful melodies and dancing rhythms from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Inspired by the charisma of Esma Redžepova, the virtuosity of Taraf de Haïdouks and the humour of Emir Kusturica, they lure listeners into a world of pain and joy, delivering an exciting and memorable performance.

The group are considered one of the UK’s leading exponents of Romany Gypsy music. Their repertoire consists largely of music, which violinist and singer Gundula collects on her regular field-work journeys through the Balkans.

Tatcho Drom’s performance arrangements are vibrant and delicate, with subtle elements of baroque, jazz and Latin, telling mystery stories of the travels and of the people behind the music. Tatcho Drom means ‘True Journey’, in Rromanes, the language of Romany Gypsies.

The principal line-up features a multi-national quintet of dynamic musicians: Violin-vocals, guitar, accordion, cello and percussion. Tatcho Drom perform as a line-up of 2 to 5 musicians. On occasion they work with selected guest musicians and dancers.

Gundula Gruen is a virtuoso violinist and singer who has travelled extensively, transcribing melodies that she learned first-hand from Romany and folk musicians.Described by Songlines Magazine as ‘a shining star in the UK’s Balkan music scene’, her unique performance style showcases a technical ability acquired through intensive conservatoire training as well as a colourful and charismatic personality. Her compositions, whilst drawing influence from her love and extensive knowledge of Romany Gypsy music, are original and highly personal.

Gundula formed Tatcho Drom in 2005 and has led the group ever since. In the past she was founder and director of the London Gypsy Orcherstra for 10 years, and created numerous comprehensive arts and collaboration projects with Balkan Romani musicians and dancers. She has appeared on various radio and television stations including BBC Radio 6 Music, Channel 4’s documentary ‘How Music Works’, the TRT (Turkish state Television) documentary ‘Farkli Kutltur, Ayne Muzik’ and more. More information at

Tommie Black-Roff (accordion – vocals), an accordionist, pianist, singer and composer, grew up in Cornwall, where he was instructed by composer and pianist Chris Fitkin while also being exposed to the local folk tradition.

Moving to London he studied Balkan music with Serbian virtuoso accordionist Zivorad Nikolic.

Jeremy Halliwell (guitar) is a founder member of Tatcho Drom. He first learned acoustic guitar at age 12 and went on to study classical guitar and renaissance lute, whilst also playing Jacques Brel songs in a band with his older brother. He was a member of a classical guitar orchestra led by Tom Kerstens. Jeremy was inspired to explore Eastern European and Romani music by artists such as Taraf de Haidouks and Trio Bulgarka. He has attended masterclasses and courses with Gypsy guitarists Benjamin Czureja and Olivier Kikteff.

Elizabeth Nott is a percussionist of mainly Middle Eastern and Eastern European music genres. For the last 10 years she has worked with various artists and productions including Khyam Allami, Amira Kheir, Magic Tombolinos, London Gypsy Orchestra, Olcay Bayir, Maya Yusef, Karama, Opaz, Marat/Sade at RSC, Golden Journey at Linbury Theatre, “Mi Patria son mis Zapatos” by dancer and choreographer Florencia Guerberoff and many more.

Elizabeth’s musical background is very mixed. Born in Venezuela, she learned to play the cuatro (venezuelan type of guitar) as a child, and later the recorder, classical piano and the classical guitar.

Fraser Parry (cello) began receiving cello lessons from his father at the age of 8. He played with numerous bands, orchestras and ensembles throughout his teenage years in Glasgow, before studying music at the University of Sheffield, specialising in composition. He was first introduced to European Gypsy music after accidentally crowd-surfing his way to the front of a Goran Bregović performance at the Sziget Festival in Budapest.

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28Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Meet the Artist: Claudia Aurora

Meet the Artist: Claudia Aurora

Claudia Aurora are performing as part of WOW 2018 on Saturday 22nd September.  Tickets available through the Kings Place website.

Claudia Aurora’s second album, Mulher Do Norte, translates from Portuguese as Woman of the North. Written with a clarity that only distance can allow, it is a homage to the city, the surrounds, the way of living, that helped make her the woman she is. To all that she left behind.

It was 2003 when Claudia Aurora swapped her beloved Porto for Bristol. Little did she know that what she began singing in the kitchen as an antidote to homesickness would take her to some of the biggest stages in the world.

She sung fado. Traditional Portuguese folk songs once sung by her grandmother. In time, she wrote her own. Impassioned songs of loss, love, longing. In short, songs of saudade, the emotion at the very core of fado, perhaps best translated as ‘the love that remains after something is gone’. A lover. A comrade. A place.

“People don’t understand what I’m singing,” says Claudia, “so I try to make them feel what I want them to feel. Onstage, my heart is in my mouth, and I think maybe people will see it beating.”

If people didn’t see Claudia’s heart, they certainly heard it. With her first album only a few months old, she was a relative unknown before she played the BBC Radio 3 stage at WOMAD in 2012, yet the reaction to her set ensured Silencio’s sales were seventh highest of the entire festival. Impressed, Radio 3 later broadcast Claudia performing live from the Royal Festival Hall. Further broadcasts followed.

Claudia has since made London her base, gone on to play shows in countries as far-flung as Poland and South Korea, completed the UK’s biggest tour ever undertaken by a fado singer, and been awarded a residency at Green Note, Time Out’s London Venue of the Year 2015.

When it came to recording the new album, Claudia took her team of crack musicians back to the mother country, and the tranquility of Alentejo. Guitars, double bass, cello, bouzouki, accordion, all combining to create fado as it has never been heard before. Fado with arms open wide, embracing those other grand old traditions of the Iberian Peninsula: flamenco, tango, gypsy.

And above it all, Claudia’s voice. Like other voices, it is redolent of personal sadness. Yet it is evocative of so much more. Just as surely as fado is handed down through the ages, then so are the sentiments of which it speaks. Twelve songs evoking a collective folk memory of all the love and loss that went before.

Twelve songs sung with a voice as poised as it is fervent. The emotion Claudia communicates is not blue, necessarily, but visceral. A melancholic ecstasy. A life forever lived, no matter where her home, as a Mulher Do Norte.

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28Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Meet the Artist: Litha & Effy Efthymiou

Meet the Artist: Litha & Effy Efthymiou

Litha and Effy are performing as part of WOW 2018 on Saturday 22nd September.  Tickets available through the Kings Place website.

Litha and Effy Efthymiou are London-based composers and creators, specialising in contemporary art music and large-scale interdisciplinary work.

They compose individually and collaboratively and have been the recipients of awards from Arts Council England, The Wellcome Trust, PRS Women Make Music and the National Lottery. Their catalogue of music consists of contemporary art music, music for theatre and dance, and music for multidisciplinary performance.

Litha and Effy’s music will be performed at the Women of the World concert series at Kings Place on 20th Oct 2018. The concert will feature new viola solos and violin duos by Litha and Effy, and Effy’s new chamber piece, commissioned by the Zeitgeist Chamber Orchestra, exploring the relationship between early Baroque music and Miles Davis’s seminal album, Birth the of the Cool.

Litha Efthymiou
With scholarships from the Leverhulme Trust, TCM Trust, the Gladys Bratton award and the Linda Hill award, Litha studied Composition with composers Stephen Montague, Andrew Poppy and Errollyn Wallen at Trinity Laban conservatoire of music and dance, where she was awarded the Director’s Prize in the prestigious Isabelle Bond Gold Medal competition. She also won the St Paul’s Sinfonia composition competition and, together with Effy Efthymiou, won the ‘Greenwich International String Quartet Composition Competition’.

She has been the recipient of grants and awards from Arts Council England, The Wellcome Trust, and the National Lottery to create, write the music for, produce and direct large-scale multidisciplinary projects, working with
artists from the fields of theatre, dance and film. She has received a number of notable commissions from artists and organisations such as New Music South West, the Bristol Ensemble, recorder quintet Consortium 5, the International Guitar Foundation, percussion group Ensemble Bash, Kettle’s Yard, St Paul’s Sinfonia, the Greenwich International String Quartet Festival and many more. Litha is currently undertaking a PhD in composition, studying with prof. John Pickard at the University of Bristol, for which she has been generously funded by the European Research Council.

Effy Efthymiou
Effy Efthymiou is a British composer who works across the genres of concert music, installation, film, dance and theatre. Her works have been premiered at, among others, Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place, Sage Gateshead, National Maritime Museum, and Handel House Museum by acclaimed artists including Ensemble Bash, Jane Chapman, Wu Quartet and Consortium 5.

Effy has won awards from PRS Women Make Music, Arts Council England, The Wellcome Trust, the National Lottery and The Scarman Trust to create, write the music for, produce and direct large-scale multidisciplinary projects, working with artists from the fields of theatre, dance and film.

She holds a first class degree in Composition from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where she studied under Stephen Montague, Andrew Poppy and Paul Newland, with scholarships from the Leverhulme and TCM Trusts. Effy has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, touring the UK with leading composers and performers to conduct composition workshops in schools, prisons and youth centres.

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1Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Make a day of it at Kings Place and WOW 2018

Make a day of it at Kings Place and WOW 2018

Women of the World 2018 takes place at Kings Place on Saturday 22nd September and Saturday 20th October 2018.

For the first time ever you can spend the day with WOW, with the WOW day pass.  But whether you are coming for 1 show or 3, you can make a day of it at Kings Place.


Bruce Beasley (5 Sep – 20 Oct) at Pangolin London.
Open Mon – Sat: 10am – 6pm

Pangolin London will host an exciting exhibition of American abstract sculptor Bruce Beasley’s most recent work. Persistently pushing the boundaries of sculpture making throughout his career, this exhibition will include brand new pieces in a range of metals including bronze, iron and silver, emphasising Bruce Beasley’s position as the pre-eminent godfather in the use of digital technology in sculpture.

During a successful career of more than five decades experimenting with digital technologies and creating a new abstract language in sculpture, Bruce Beasley has established himself as one of America’s most noteworthy and innovative contemporary artists.


The in-house café, restaurant and bar offer a wide range of seasonal food, homemade pizza, cake, cocktails and a pre-concert set menu.

Rotunda Bar and Restaurant
Rotunda, has an outdoor terrace running alongside Regent’s Canal, is a hidden gem with beautiful views situated in the heart of King’s Cross. Visitors can browse a seasonal, modern British menu that features mouth-watering meat cuts from the restaurant’s own farm in Northumberland and fresh fish caught earlier that very day. The range of menus includes à la carte, a pre-concert set menu and, for those dining on a Sunday, an array of sharing joints and roasts. To accompany all of this there is an award-winning wine list, great selection of craft beers, tasty bar food, gins and house cocktails – perfect for those sunny days out on the terrace.

Green & Fortune Café
A café based in Kings Place, specialising in honest, seasonal food. Green & Fortune’s ethos focusses on freshly baked cakes, hand-roasted coffee as well as freshly made sandwiches and hot food, served by knowledgeable, friendly staff. Sourced from their own farm, Green & Fortune receives all the beef and lamb that features at the carvery station and many of the hot dishes, which change on a regular basis. A one-stop shop for those in need of sustenance.

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1Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Meet the Artist: Plastikes Karekles

Meet the Artist: Plastikes Karekles

Plastikes Karekles are performing as part of WOW 2018 on Saturday 22nd September.  Tickets available through the Kings Place website.

“These musicians wowed a captivated audience…they had people dancing in the aisles and evoked memories of sunnier climes” – Nottingham Press

An eclectic fusion of international and Greek musicians with roots from traditional Greek folk to classical and jazz. The group is known for their own arrangements of music by Theodorakis, Hadjidakis and Xarhakos featuring a fusion of classical string instruments with Greek traditional ones. They are also very involved in the Rebetiko scene and have for the last five years set up a the very popular “Rebet Asker, Greek Roots Series” at the Green Note, London, dedicated to the music of Rebetiko.

The group have appeared at performances and festivals in Greece and elsewhere abroad. In the UK they have performed at Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, St David’s Hall as part of the Proms, as well as more intimate venues such as the Green Note, Vortex and the Forge, London.

The musicians of Plastikes Karekles are also the founding members of the Rebetiko Carnival, a one month festival in June with Rebetiko music at its heart. They are dedicated to exposing this treasured music to as many people as possible.

A very important part of Plastikes Karekles work is also education and outreach work. This has taken them to not only mainstream schools, but also special needs homes, hospitals and prisons throughout the UK.

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1Sep 2018
News Comments Off on Meet the Artist: Shirley J Thompson

Meet the Artist: Shirley J Thompson

Shirley J Thompson is curating the Women & Words – Windrush event as part of WOW 2018 on Saturday 22nd September.  Tickets available through the Kings Place website.

The music of composer Shirley J. Thompson is performed and screened worldwide and often described as “beautiful and powerful” (Le Figaro). A visionary artist and cultural activist, Thompson is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony within the last 40 years. New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony performed and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is an epic musical story celebrating London’s thousand-year history, and one in which the RPO is accompanied by two choirs, solo singers, a rapper and dhol drummers, a total of nearly 200 performers. This extraordinary work was originally commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the concept was latterly assumed as a framework for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. She has also composed extensively for TV/film, theatre, dance and opera production.

Thompson’s musical experience began with her playing the violin for various youth symphony orchestras in London, as well as choral singing with local choirs. After studying Musicology at the University of Liverpool and then specialising in Composition at Goldsmiths’ College with, Professor Stanley Glasser, her first major commission came from the Greenwich International Festival, when she composed a chamber orchestral work entitled Visions

After writing several instrumental and vocal ensemble pieces, Thompson started writing for film and television. Her music for the major BBC drama series, South of the Border was selected as a Top 20 BBC TV Theme in 1990 and her score for the film, Dreaming Rivers, earned a prize at the Mannheim Film Festival in that year. She subsequently composed music for a number of television documentaries and drama programmes.

In 1995 she launched and directed The Shirley Thompson Ensemble at London’s South Bank Centre, her own ensemble of instrumental soloists, singers, dancers and visual artists. It was with this group that she created ground-breaking compositions which seamlessly integrate contemporary classical music orchestration with improvisation, as well as fusing contemporary popular music and world music styles. She also developed compositions that integrated video imagery and contemporary dance for the concert stage. Through her original compositions she has subsequently become a leading exponent of music performance with multi-media and has devised innovative arts education programmes including the exemplary, Newham Symphony Schools Spectacular for children ranging in ages from 7-17 years. The latter programme, devised in 2002, led to the introduction of the national education scheme, Every Child A Musician, being adopted in the London borough in 2010.

Music by Shirley J. Thompson has been commissioned for several royal engagements, including Commonwealth Day performing for HM Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey in 1999, with her ensemble again for HM Queen Elizabeth’s summer party at Buckingham Palace in 2001, and opening the newly built Stratford Cultural Quarter with the London Gala Orchestra performing the Newham Symphony with Prince Edward and Countess Sophie of Wessex in attendance. In 2000 she was commissioned to compose a large-scale work to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Other notable compositions and performances include The Woman Who Refused to Dance (2007) for the opening of the Parliamentary exhibition, British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People; Spirit Songs (2007) performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. To commemorate 100 days of Barack Obama’s Presidency, Thompson was commissioned by South Bank Centre to compose Voice of Change (2009) and this was performed by Principals of the BBC Concert Orchestra (Time Scale) with vocal soloists Yolanda Grant-Thompson, Mark Delisser and Katherine Sayles.

In February 2012 Thompson’s Mandela Tales, was premiered in the Purcell Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The work features a number of stories from a variety of regions and traditions across Africa with storytelling, original live music, video projection and dance. Shirley J. Thompson had a successful South African premiere of Mandela Tales, performed by the Gordonstoun School in Cape Town, for the GREAT British Week of Culture in February 2013.

In January 2014, Shirley J. Thompson conducted the premiere of her new choral commission, Westminster Anthem at Westminster Abbey, to commemorate 175 years of the University of Westminster. Performers included the Westminster Abbey Organist, Daniel Cock, Westminster Chorus and Westminster Brass. In February she was Composer-in-Residence, for the Lynn Conservatory, New Music Festival in Florida where the Lynn Philharmonia gave a number of orchestral performances of her works. She returned to present a showcase performance of Heroines of Opera, a new chamber opera production for solo voice and chamber orchestra, at the Women of the World Festival in March as well as presenting the work at St Paul’s Cathedral and the House of Commons. She showcased another of her operatic works, Dido Elizabeth Belle at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of The Other Georgian Story in June and enjoyed another run of her award winning ballet, PUSH, at the London Coliseum in July – August. In July 2015 her new opera, Sacred Mountain: Incidents in the Life of Queen Nanny of the Maroons, premiered on the opening night of Tete a Tete: Opera Festival.

Shirley J. Thompson is Reader in Composition and Performance at the University of Westminster and has served for over 20 years on several national arts institutions, including the London Arts Board, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Newham Council Cultural Forum. She was the first female executive of the Association of Professional Composers and now serves as an elected member of the Classical Music Executive for the British Academy of Song Writers, Composers and Authors. She has been named in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power List of Britain’s Top 100 Most Influential Black People in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016’.

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Shirley J. Thompson Music & Sound Design Showreel from Shirley J. Thompson on Vimeo.